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Germany—The German Climate Action Plan 2050

In its INDC pledge to the Paris agreement, Germany proposed reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 40% by 2020 and up to about 95% in 2050, as compared to 1990 levels. To achieve this aim, Germany drafted a policy known as the Climate Action Plan 2050, which provides the exact target measures of greenhouse gas emission reductions in individual sectors including energy, industry, buildings, agriculture and transport among others. Action Plan 2050 is a product of a coalition agreement reached in 2013 by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) to define the emission reduction targets with a final target of 80 to 95 % in comparison to 1990 by 2050. The policy entered into force on 4th November, 2016.

Germany is the strongest economy in the EU and its individual emissions are higher than the EU average. It is also worth noting that Germany also meets its emission reduction goals under the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the EU Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) mechanism used to chart EU compliance with the Paris agreement. A sector breakdown of emission reduction targets in the German Climate Action Plan 2050 is provided below.

Climate Action Plan 2050 has contributed to success stories with regards to emission reductions in different sectors in Germany. For instance, in the transport sector, the Climate Action Plan 2050 has limited emissions to 65-68 g CO2/km by 2025 and up to maximum of 50 g CO2/km for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2030. By 2020, it intends to produce 1 million e-cars that are expected to help reduce targeted emissions from the transport sector.

Also, in the agriculture sector, Germany intends to reduce the utilization of nitrogenous fertilizers by moving from the conventional crop production to organic agriculture and limiting fertilizer utilization by 70 kg N/ha by 2032. In addition, the Climate Action Plan 2050 reinforces existing policies to ensure buildings attain a climate-neutral stock state by 2050.

However, to achieve major success stories on emission reduction in Germany from the perspective of the Climate Action Plan 2050, a number of gaps need to be addressed more precisely. For example, Action Plan 2050 proposes the reduction of meat consumption which accounts for the largest greenhouse gas emissions footprint per kilogram, but it does not give precise ways for doing this; nor to cut the 40% emissions; nor does it describe how and when coal-fired power plants should stop generating electricity.

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